While I was preparing my cup of coffee this afternoon I sat on the kitchen and watched what my father was watching – another Senate investigation – yes, good old soap entertainment for many Filipinos tired of the local tv sitcoms. He can sit all day watching it – while I usually would just watch for some minutes and head back to my room. I really don’t have his patience.
But what I saw earlier was a bit interesting. Not new but apparently recent big news (I haven’t been following news lately you see). I stayed a lil’ longer this time and I was a bit entertained watching the son of Erap lecture the people there about the immorality of corruption – you’ve got to love Filipino politics, only in da Philippines!
The inquiry or the Senate investigation in aid of legislation blah blah blah was about these fat balding corrupt military generals pocketing millions of money as gifts. They referred to it as a tradition called “pabaon”. Pabaon where I came from is what you give your visiting friends and relatives before sending them home – apparently these evil men have a different meaning to this old Filipino tradition. Ah yes, gifts for the retiring top brass men, “balato”, ladies and gents! While the poor common soldier die with their face submerged in dirt and their family starving our loyal and most trustworthy generals deposits military funds straight to their personal bank accounts. Perfect!
We live in a world that allows these men’s ravenous greed to embezzle funds from government institutions and get away with it. You know, years ago I saw a poor old retired Army man get evicted from his home in Taguig – the government had just sold his property and the man and his family needs to pack up and leave, pronto. His wife was with him while uniformed men together with some sheriff showed up – you see its just the two of them inside since their only soldier son died serving his country – yes, “fighting” so you and I can enjoy the freedom that most of us take for granted. Is this how we repay our soldiers services? We allow millions to be pocketed while we deprive the common soldier of the most basic of their needs? Where is our earnest concern for our soldiers?
I’m not saying that this is related to those f****** fat corrupt general’s fresh robbery (believe me Filipinos are hardly surprise that such transgressions are committed these days) but you know those that sacrifice the most aren’t always treated like heroes, sometimes they have to put up a stand to get treated with compassion and respect. Funds should be channeled to their needs not these Generals and their wives – the family of those who made the ultimate sacrifice deserves those million more than anyone in our government.
We ask why the young men of our military always whines about their situation. Well, they see what most of us can’t see or pretend not to see – corruption. Of course when I say “corrupt” I’m referring to the leaders not the little soldiers– And I truly believe that these young military men have all the right to protest because their leaders has not only failed them but robbed and abused them. We as a people have an obligation to hear them and make sure that they are safe when they come out of their camps reporting that their boss just took millions of their future pension to their personal bank account.
But the problem in our society is that those who points out what’s wrong doesn’t really get praises and congratulations. They rarely do. Whenever they expose something they’re entering a world of pain. In most cases or in all cases in this great land of ours, those who dare speak risk prematurely ending their careers. Sadly, some of our good citizens are quick to brand them adventuristas, ingrato, traidores, insubordinados – shooting the messenger won’t really help us here – the message is what’s important – for a man to gamble all that he got in life to expose the truth in my eyes is an honorable man.
Last time I checked – we jailed all those who made the stand. Turns out that they were telling the truth but NO ONE, no politician dared to listen. People said, well, it was not the right forum for their grievances, well, what’s the right forum then? Ah yes, the courts where money is king. Or their immediate military leaders, of course they can be trusted – right? NOT.
February 3 2010